Star Wars 1313 In Jeopardy
Five months after their $4bn Lucas takeover, Disney has closed down LucasArts as a videogame developer and publisher. From here on out, Star Wars titles will be licensed out to other publishers and studios, while internally-developed Star Wars 1313 and First Strike have been left high and dry.
Though LucasArts arguably lost their way in recent years, we can't help but shed a tear for the company who brought us Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, TIE Fighter, Rogue Squadron and more. Details below.
A LucasArts rep confirmed the grim news to Game Informer, delivering the following statement:
"After evaluating our position in the games market, we've decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games."
"As a result of this change, we've had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles."
What this effectively means is that LucasArts will no longer function as a developer or publisher. Instead, Disney will license the IP to studios and publishers to deliver licensed Star Wars games in future, which could arguably lead to some excellent new games if they get some competent outfits on board. However, this will be little comfort to the 150 newly-redundant staffers, and the in-development Star Wars 1313 which is now up the proverbial creek without a Tauntaun.
However, the 1313 team believes that a new publisher can be found given time. "It is worth noting that we are looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans," the spokesperson suggested. "We still believe in the video game industry, we still will provide Star Wars games, we're just looking at different models rather than internal production... They're evaluating everything. There's always a possibility that it [Star Wars 1313] can still come out via licensing."
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Kinect Star Wars both released to a lukewarm critical reception, and made many of us wonder whether LucasArts weren't just a shadow of their former selves. Nevertheless, we wish the laid-off personnel the very best of luck, and will probably deliver some form of rose-tinted retrospective later this week.
Let us know what LucasArts meant to you over the years, and what developers/publishers you'd like to see working on Star Wars games going forward. For the record, Obsidian recently pitched a little something...
Thanks to ODB and Mike for the heads-up, and commiserating with us last night over this.